#FirstWorldProblems: Bubble tea runs out in the US
Food and Lifestyle

#FirstWorldProblems: Bubble tea runs out in the US

Apr 16, 2021, 7:14 AM
Nicole Pulido

Nicole Pulido

Writer

In a stark contrast of the haves and have nots, bubble tea drinkers in the United States have a “very big problem’ as they may have to sacrifice their cravings for a while as port backlogs delay the deliveries of bubble tea ingredients, while more than 70 percent of humanity elsewhere does not know where to get their next meal.

Bubble tea, which has exploded in popularity in recent years, is a Taiwanese milk tea drink with a variety of flavors that features chewy pearls of tapioca

WHILE parts of the world are still awaiting the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, the United States is bracing itself for a shortage of – wait for it – bubble tea.

Shipping delays are about to cause a major shortage of boba and tapioca starch, the main ingredients for the tapioca balls that are added to the tea.

A Business Insider report said a backlog in the West Coast will deplete boba supply in the United States over the next few weeks.

Even worse, it may take months for the bubble tea supply chain to recover.

The shortage started about a month ago, according to Oliver Yoon, the vice-president of sales and global marketing for Boba Direct, a Chicago-based nationwide supplier of bubble tea products.

Ports on the East and West Coasts have been overwhelmed for months as consumer spending has increased along with a bevy of logistical issues amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s a perfect storm really,” Yoon said.

Yoon added consumers just need to be patient, while also acknowledging the frustration of retailers. “This is temporary, not forever.”

Bubble tea, which has exploded in popularity in recent years, is a Taiwanese milk tea drink with a variety of flavors that features chewy pearls of tapioca.

Supply has been tightened for the last month, Yoon said, and it’s not likely to let up until the end of April at the earliest.

The owners of popular bubble tea chain Boba Guys highlighted the issue in a video posted to Instagram.

“This is an industry-wide shortage,” founders Bin Chen and Andrew Chau said.
“Some boba shops are already out. Others will run out in the next few weeks. 99 percent of boba comes from overseas…It will be in flux for several months until we get our next series of tapioca starch shipments.”

The duo added that, due to the backlog, boba shipments — which the majority of which are imported from Taiwan — are taking four to five months to clear customs and cross the Pacific. (NP)

Tags: #mysteryandfun, #tapioca, #foodshortage, #bubbletea


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